It’s getting close to the time of year when many of us will be going away on holiday, hopefully to sunny climes, but if you’re anything like me there is often a small problem – that of mosquitoes. In many areas, they are a real pest, and mosquito bites can spoil a holiday for many people – the key is often in prevention. Whilst there are many mosquito repellents available, they usually contain a cocktail of strong chemicals which may well keep the insects away but often keep people away as well! Some are so potent they will even melt nail polish over a couple of days. Many makes – the most effective ones – contain DEET. This has been used for more than 45 years and is generally well tolerated, but there have been some cases reported of auditory hallucinations and severe agitation, as well as extreme lethargy; there have even been some cases of death following prolonged application to the skin. (Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry). Summarizing a Duke University study, the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides said, “With heavy exposure to DEET . . . humans may experience memory loss, headache, weakness, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, tremors and shortness of breath.” The stuff is also linked to skin and eye irritations. There are pleasanter ways of getting rid of mosquitoes! Firstly, diet can be considered. Sugar makes your blood taste sweeter, especially to mozzies – so a good thing would be to stop eating sugar for at least a week before you travel and whilst you are there. If you eat garlic on a regular basis you smell less appetizing to stinging insects, or you could take a one a day tablet, such as Lamberts High Strength Garlic, which is specially coated to reduce the garlic odour to other humans (always a good idea!) Malaria-carrying mozzies are attracted to the smell of human feet – so placing a bit of strong cheese, which smells just like your feet (honestly!) in your room at night, at least 2.5m away from you, can distract them There are several remedies you can take while you are away. The ones I have found work best for me are Thiamine (Vitamin B1) and zinc. These make our sweat smell unattractive to insects – but the smell isn’t noticeable to humans (again, honestly!) As all the B vitamins work together, you should also take a B-complex. Another way of getting vitamin B1 into your system is to take Brewer’s yeast. I always start taking 300mg Thiamine, 30mg zinc, B-complex 100mg and garlic a couple of days before I go away, and continue until the day I leave. I can’t say that I never get nibbled – but I don’t get nibbled any more than my friends who are spraying themselves with potentially toxic chemicals. I found these suggestions in a book I would recommend everyone reads – 500 of the Most Important Health Tips You’ll Ever Need by Hazel Courteney (Index Books Ltd). Any of hese remedies can be ordered from Smart Therapies – we particularly recommend Lamberts supplements, as a reputable company who provide supplements of a high quality. Something that I have had recommended to me for years, and have found also works, is Skin So Soft Dry Oil Spray – and it has the added bonus of moisturising your skin after a day in the sun and not smelling badly either! Having said all that – there is a time and a place for everything. If you are going to tropical countries with a risk of malaria & other tropical diseases it is important to see your GP well beforehand to discuss what precautions you need to take as malaria is something to be avoided at all costs, and strong repellents may well be needed. But for other destinations these suggestions may just be worth a try – they have worked for me and I really appreciate not feeling toxic as I have my evening out. Happy holiday!
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